Sunday, March 20, 2011


It's puppy season again.  That spectacular time of the year when all fuzzy goodness comes bounding awkwardly through our front doors.  At the hospital, we're starting to see all the new puppies brought in for their first vet visits and vaccines.  Some come from shelters, others from breeders, but they're all adorable.  And their new parents are full of joy.  And questions.

The routine is the same for each visit.  I usher the parents back to the scale for a weight check, they hold their squirming puppy on the scale and then they giggle as they watch their Fuzzy Wonder navigate into the exam room.  As soon as I hear the click of that door behind us, I exhale.  I know what's coming - the Questions.  I have been asked questions about nutrition, potty-training, crate-training, chewing, teething, baldness, bodily excretions, itching, ears, nail-trimming, wet vs dry noses...  The list goes on and on.

I've been a vet tech (although I prefer "vet nurse" as it more accurately describes what we do) for almost 7 years, and I've heard ALOT of questions.  Some are more surprising than others, some I've had to research the answer for, but I love each and every question.  The more questions, the more involved the parents seem as they welcome home their new puppy.  I love those parents that have done the research long before adopting or buying that special puppy the most.  They can tell me all about training, and their puppy's breed disposition, but are wanting to confirm what they've learned.  They're invested in doing the right thing behaviorally, medically, and emotionally.  And they want to truly partner with their vet team to do what's best.

The parents that scare me the most are those that have no questions and are very quiet throughout the exam.  I'm always wondering if they're really ready for the onslaught that this little Bundle of Joy is about to unleash on them.  I know I wasn't prepared when I brought home my first puppy.  In retrospect, I wish I had kept my veterinary tech and vet in that exam room for at least another 45 minutes!

The ones that really terrify me are the ones that seem truly disinterested in their puppy.  The man who seems irritated to be there, whose wife bought the kids a dog of a breed he would never want.  These are the puppies I want to spirit out the back door into the arms of the nearest stranger because they might get a better chance at life.  In these cases, I find myself praising the puppy endlessly, and trying in the short visit to teach a few basic commands like "sit" and "down".  Maybe if he sees me do it, he'll find some merit in the pup.  Maybe.

The majority of the puppies that come through our doors are lucky.  There will be insurance provided for them, daily cookies and walkies, and trips to the dog park.  Life will be good.  The hope in the eyes of each parent and puppy's eyes is palpable.  It's the promise of new life brought into our homes in the season of blossoms and green grass.  Fertility, infancy, renewal.  

For those lucky parents that are opening their doors to new puppies for the first time, and to all the hope they bring, I salute you!  The world of dogs is a magical, joyful, slobber-filled Oz.  So for now on, when I close that door to the exam room, I think I'll just turn to the new parents and say,

"Welcome to Oz.  We have cookies!"


  1. Great post - you should post it at the vet's for all new pup owners to read:) We have had dogs for many years but we never seem to reach the end of our questions.

    Have a great Sunday.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  2. good post..puppies are 24 hour attention them though
    Benny & Lily

  3. Fantastic post. I do ask many questions - still! My vet's terrific and she shares so much with me. I commend the wonderful work you. Pup season must be so wonderful to see!

    Oz - you sure are gorgeous!

  4. I always have a lot of questions for the vet and the vet techs. I used to feel embarrassed about asking so many questions but now I don't. They all know me and Riley when we first come in and Riley is one of their favorites there.

    Elyse and Riley

  5. My FT is a-waggin' fur such a great post!

    PeeEssWoo: Purple is SOOOOO the kholour of royalty AND special ones!

  6. We are never at an end of questions. How wonderful that you do all you can to answer them. I have met people in my life that seem uninterested in having a puppy. I too, try to give that puppy the best of my time, for I don't know what is going to happen until the next time I see them.

    Thank you for your dedication. It is nice to know there are others fighting the good fight too.

  7. Wish you practiced in our neck of the woods! :D

    Great post! :)

    Waggin at ya,

  8. Well, wit 11 little dogs in my pack, we is at da vet quite a lot for various tings. (Mom runs to da vet if one of us sneezes more den once -- you know da type -- worry- worry- worry). Our vet has invited Mom to help out at da clinic. She would love to meet all da new puppies and da healthy ones, but meeting a pet headed to Rainbow Bridge would destroy her for life so she thought da better of it and jus' stays home wit us.

  9. Fantastic post! I wish we could have more people like you who work at the vet's.

  10. Mom always asks tons of questions, dad not so much, but mom says that's cause "he's a man and don't know no better". :) Great post!

  11. Well said! We saw a few different vets at our office until we clicked with one - now we only see the others in an emergency (and some not even then). I can't imagine not caring about what was happening with a member of our family!

  12. Cannot say it enough! And you are so right about the human parents being part of a team with their vet and nurse (like that term better, too) and the pup itself in keeping the fuzzball healthy, safe and happy through all of the phases of his life! Questions ARE good things.


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